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Trump Attends G-7 with Defiance, Proposing to Re-admit Russia

It was unclear by midafternoon whether the other leaders had confronted Mr. Trump — as they had promised they would — about the trade issue and other disputes.

The leaders from Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Japan and Italy may conclude the summit on Saturday with a forceful joint statement issued without Mr. Trump’s signature, a striking departure from the usual display of comity and cooperation that has punctuated meetings between the United States and its most important allies.

Mr. Trump relishes his role as a disrupter of the established international order and was already at odds with his counterparts in the group. After having skirmished with the leaders of Canada and France over trade, he then abruptly announced that he would skip the end of the session in Quebec on Saturday.

Britain, Germany and other members of the G-7 were unlikely to go along with Mr. Trump’s Russia suggestion, but he won support from Italy. “I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should return to the G8,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wrote on Twitter in Italian. “It is in everyone’s interest.”

American foreign policy veterans, on the other hand, said the president’s suggestion underscored his isolation.

“President Trump has placed himself on the wrong side: with the autocrats, the corrupt, and the anti-Americans, who look to Vladimir Putin as a natural ally,” said Daniel Fried, a former career diplomat who oversaw sanctions on Russia after its Ukraine intervention. “Such language will dismay America’s friends and embolden our adversaries.”

The notion of readmitting Russia to the world’s most exclusive club reflected the unusually friendly approach that Mr. Trump has taken to Russia since becoming president, a policy at odds with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington as well as leaders in Europe.

Source: NYT > World

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